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How to Have a Dog in College?

How to Have a Dog in College?

How to have a dog in college is something many people ask. To have a dog in college, you need to research university regulations before applying, as not all of them would allow you to have a furry friend.

Would having a pet in your dorm be a good idea? There are quite a few pros and cons to this, which we’ve discussed. We’ve also talked about how you can take care of your dog and more.

Is It a Good Idea to Get a Dog in College?

In some cases, having a dog in college isn’t such a great idea, as you won’t always be around to take care of it. But you can’t argue that owning a dog would also be useful.


College is a totally new experience and many students feel homesick and lonely when they start out. The company of a furry friend would make things easier.

After a long day of classes, coming back to your dog would feel great too.

Make Friends

If you’re going to a pet-friendly school, they will allow different types of pets including dogs. You can use your dog as an ice breaker to get to know the others.

A lot of people would approach you too – who wouldn’t want to pet a cute pup?


You don’t need to be a dog person to know that the animals require exercise. Taking your dog on walks would help you to exercise as well.

Not only would you improve your fitness, but you’ll also improve your mental health. The stress of college can be too much sometimes, so being out in nature would help you recharge.

Mental Health

Let’s talk about mental health. Studies have shown that owning a dog can increase dopamine production. The fact that a furry friend would help you get over your loneliness is a plus.

Feel like an Adult

Most dogs are happy and carefree, like children. College is a major step, and you may want to feel more like an adult. The responsibility of owning an animal would do the trick.

Can You Have a Dog in College Dorms?

This would depend on the school you’re attending. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them don’t allow dogs. This isn’t because they’re against animals. It’s just that there will be many others living with you and pets can become a nuisance. Some students could be allergic, so the college wouldn’t want to put them in an uncomfortable position.

Owning a big pet like a dog would increase the chances of your dorm getting damaged too. You don’t need us to tell you that a dog could wreck the furniture and carpeting in your room – campus housing wouldn’t be too happy about this.

Do you own a service dog? Having him by your side would be mandatory. Campus housing might make an exception for you, as your pet would have been trained to not cause trouble.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), colleges are required to let students take their service dogs in dorms and classes. Make sure to contact the university as soon as possible to get this sorted.

What to Do With My Dog in College?

There are several things you can do to make it easier for you to have a furry friend.

Keep Your Dorm Clean

Take a look at your dorm. Is it messy? It would be easier for your dog to make a mess if there is a lot of junk. If there’s a lot of junk on the floor, it would be harder for him to move around.

Keeping it clean would reflect how committed you are to having a pet– people who walk in will have a good impression.

A Strict Schedule

You’ll have a lot of homework, tests and classes. To manage them and take care of your dog, you should create a strict schedule. Try and avoid situations that would cause you to neglect your pet or your studies too much. A friend might need to help you in such cases.

Communicate Well

You won’t be the only one living in a suite. There could be up to 3 others. Communicate with them well. Issues surrounding your pet may arise otherwise. The best thing to do is get in contact with them before the move in date. Letting them know that you’re bringing a pet would be great.

Creating a healthy environment would let your roommate bring up any problems or concerns they have. The worst thing would be them keeping issues to themselves.

Don’t be Lazy

Once you start getting lazy, you’ll start ignoring your dog’s wellbeing. A fresh bowl of water should always be left out.

Being lazy could also result in you focusing too much on your pet and not on your studies. Sticking to a schedule would help you get things done.

Train Your Pet

It would also be a good idea to train your dog. Taking care of him would be easier. It’ll also be easier when you go out.

Since you’re in a college setting, your dog will be surrounded by many others. A trained animal would be able to handle social situations better.

Reasons to Not Get a Dog in College

Let’s say your college lets you keep a dog. But would you be able to take care of it yourself? There’s a lot of disadvantages to having such a large pet as a college student.

It’s Expensive

You’ll also need to spend on your dog’s meals, grooming supplies, vet bills and much more. If there is a medical emergency, you can expect a huge chunk of your savings to be spent on it.

You could adopt a pet instead. Buying a dog would cost more.

The ASCPA says that for a cat, you can expect to spend around $1,200 a year. A dog would cost as much as well.

Limit Where You Can Live

Do you have a dog back home and are determined to bring him to university with you? The number of colleges that you’ll be able to apply for would be limited.

You may think that there won’t be a problem bringing your pet, as you’re planning on living off campus. However, most universities make it mandatory to live in the dorms for the first 2 years.

You can find a way to get out of living in the dorms. But as you know, the number of landlords that would allow you to bring a pet would be limited as well.

Big Commitment

Taking care of an animal is a big commitment. It won’t be easy to balance studies, your social life and taking care of another living being.

Dogs need a lot of exercise and attention. Will your studies get in the way?

Don’t forget that dogs can live for up to 16 years.  Although you may think it would be nice to have a furry companion while at university, what would happen after you graduate?

To have a such a large pet while at university, you’ll need to train it. This would be added time that you might not have.

College Life

College is the best time to experience new things and meet people. You won’t be able to go and have fun when you’re a parent to a pet– who would take care of him while you’re away? Unfortunately, he or she may be aggressive as well. This will make it harder when you have visitors over.

Do Colleges Let You Have Pets?

Considering that you’re not able to have a dog in your dorm, you may be wondering about other pets you can keep. Most colleges let you have fish.

Although the likelihood of owning a dog or cat would be low, many colleges let you have amphibians, reptiles, hamsters and tortoises. Of course, these would be limited too.

How Many College Students Own Pets?

When we said not that many colleges allow pets, how many are we talking about? In a study comparing 1,000 universities, only 4% of them had pet-friendly policies. From these, most of them had less strict policies for smaller pets like fish and hamsters.

If you’re parent to a smaller animal, life would be easier. You won’t have to spend a lot on supplies or taking care of them. And you won’t have to spend a lot of time training them either.

It looks like there’s an upward trend of colleges letting students keep dogs, though. The fact that they’re great for mental health is a major reason why.

If you’re going to college and are planning on having a dog, you’re going to be disappointed. The vast majority of schools have strict pet policies. Owning a dog as a college student may not be wise. You wouldn’t have enough time to take care of him or her. Taking care of such a large pet would be expensive. As a college student, you would already be struggling with cash.

If you want to have a dog while at university, it would be smart to:

  • Train him
  • Create a schedule
  • Communicate with your room-mates
  • Keep your room clean